The aNH3.Company has developed a new Liquimatic gas separator that the company says eliminates unbalanced distribution of anhydrous ammonia.

The separator replaces conventional heat exchangers, says Lauren Kiest, communications manager for aNH3.Company. He says the prime advantage of the Liquimatic separator is elimination of the heat exchanger coolant stream, which causes unbalanced distribution.

Kiest says the separator has a gas stream of as little as 20% of total flow. This small stream can be easily incorporated in the soil with an extra injection tube.

"The only purpose for a heat exchanger in an anhydrous ammonia system is to condense ammonia gas back to a liquid," Kiest says. "This gas is formed by friction in the piping and hoses from the nurse tank. Mixed liquid and gas cannot be accurately measured by a flow meter, preventing accurate control."

Historically, the coolant stream to the heat exchanger has been badly managed, Kiest says, causing large differences between rows. That problem has been partially caused by poor heat exchanger design. Another problem, Kiest says, is that the manufacturers of heat exchanger systems have difficulty control coolant to heat exchanger. He says aNH3.Company's Equaply system uses the new Hiniker heat exchangers, which have been re-engineered to allow row equality.

"Anhydrous heat exchangers have a practical limit of 25 gallons per minute per exchanger. The Liquimatic separator can handle rates in excess of 80 gallons per minute," Kiest says. "No existing heat exchanger can do that. Equaply's two heat exchanger system has an upper limit of 60 gallons per minute, for example."

Here is a summary of how the Liquimatic separator works:

  1. The incoming stream to the Liquimatic separator is mixed liquid and gas. Assuming that there is about 1 pound per square inch gauge of pressure loss in the line, the volume percent of gas is 45% (65% liquid).
  2. This mixture goes in the bottom of the separator tower and encounters a weir.
  3. The weir diverts gas upward, while the liquid goes over the weir and down to the tower outlet.
  4. Gas collects in the head space of the tower, lowering the liquid level.
  5. A level sensor switch opens a solenoid valve on top of the tower, allowing gas to exit.
  6. As gas leaves, liquid rises, turning off the switch to the solenoid valve.
  7. A small head pressure of liquid in the tower assures that the liquid leaving the bottom of the tower is below saturation pressure and not boiling.
  8. As a result, a flow meter after the tower sees pure liquid and reads correctly.
  9. Similarly, a pump after the tower does not have gas to cause cavitation.